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School Program Gets More Money, New Office : Gang Alternative Project Gains Stature

September 24, 1987|SHERYL STOLBERG | Times Staff Writer

The Gang Alternatives Program--launched last year as a pilot effort to prevent harbor area school children from joining gangs--has taken a step toward permanency, with increased funding, a new coordinator and new offices to be unveiled today.

The program will also expand to include 14 schools in San Pedro, Wilmington and Harbor City, up from the current eight, according to program adviser Hector Galindo.

Galindo said the Gang Alternatives Program has obtained a three-year funding commitment from the state office of criminal justice planning. The state is providing the program $133,000 this year, up from the $98,000 provided as seed money last year by the United Way, he said.

Established last September, the harbor area program spent its first year in office space at the United Way building in Long Beach, and was run by a coalition of representatives from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the program's board of directors and the United Way.

In July, Galindo said, the organization hired a permanent coordinator: Ernie Paculba, formerly of Project Heavy, a nonprofit agency that tries to rehabilitate gang members. The Gang Alternatives Program has also moved to new offices, in Room 305 of San Pedro City Hall.

The offices will be open to visitors today from 5 to 7 p.m. Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores, Supervisor Deane Dana and Warren Furutani, a Los Angeles Unified School District trustee, will be the honorary hosts.

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